Music In Costume: The Cramps dress up as The Shades

Yesterday was Lux Interior’s birthday, which seems fitting that the frontman of The Cramps would be born within October. It’s shame he’s no longer around but the legend of both him and the band lives on. Had I known it, this post would have gone up yesterday.

The thing with The Cramps is that they do a lot of covers. A lot. Like, on every album. There’s at least one if not THREE different renditions of classic rock and roll songs. That’s one of the better aspects of the Cramps – they were rock and roll advocates, celebrating forgotten or disregarded rock classics. The series

Lux and Ivy of the Cramps were rock historians and archivists, devouring music and sometimes repurposing it for their own use. When I first hear “Strollin’ After Dark” by the Shades, I have to admit – it was a sock to the gut because it’s clearly the rift to “I Was A Teenage Werewolf” by the Cramps. And I LOVE “I Was A Teenage Werewolf.” I think it’s one of the best guitar rifts in music and it was kind of deflating to find out it wasn’t wholly original.

But, after considering this, I see how this may have been part of Lux+Ivy’s mission statement. In the early years of Surf Music (and to some extent, still today) surf bands did other people’s songs like it was nothing to it, mainly because there weren’t that many songs around. But it gave an open-source, universal aspect of the new sound and I think Lux+Ivy wanted Rock and Roll to be that universal beat. They wanted this sound to be ubiquitous to everyday life and they championed it so.

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